Fall is here, and that means it’s time for apple picking, a hayride in the pumpkin patch, and Sunday Night Football. And nothing goes better with football than some good eats like foot-long subs, burgers, beer, and chips and dip. But before you set out the traditional tailgating fan-fare, check out the following tips to keep game time nutritious and delicious.
- Warm up. Before you fill your plate, take a lap around the room to see what’s being offered. Studies have shown that the more variety you put on your plate, the more likely you are to overeat. So pick three or four items from different food groups and save room for a sweet treat.
- Sub in better-for-you ingredients. Instead of the traditional plate of nachos or chips with French onion dip, serve fresh veggie sticks with hummus, guacamole or a low-fat Greek yogurt dip. And save hundreds of calories by making Salad Swaps in place of traditional tailgating dishes. For example, the Sante Fe Style Chili Salad is more than 300 calories less per serving than traditional beef chili, and the Italian Antipasto Salad will satisfy your craving for salty, savory meats and cheese for 220 calories – a 400+ calorie savings from an Italian sub sandwich.
- Stay hydrated. It’s easy to fill up on caloric drinks like beer and soda, so choose your drinks wisely. Go for light beer, diet soda, or unsweetened iced tea to keep the calories in check. And remember to have plenty of water to wash down the salty party food.
- Make the most out of halftime. Break away from the food and head outside for your own game of two-hand touch football or some halftime stretches. Remember, you want to balance those calories in with expending some calories, and what better way than to be active on a cool, crisp autumn day.
By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express